This coming May elections, I’m running for a seat in the Provincial Board of Ilocos Norte.
I thought about it for a long, long, long time.
It all started when I began working for a law firm in Makati. For one year, I practiced Corporate Law. I must admit, it was an educational experience. I learned a lot about incorporating companies, and performing the necessary corporate housekeeping. I also learned about government contracts and how to deal with people from such departments and agencies like SEC, BIR, DOF and BID, to name a few. Wink, wink.
The pay was good.
No, the pay was great.
But I felt empty inside.
In order to do the stuff we do, one had to stop feeling. You can’t survive the business if you have a strong conscience.
Even if you keep your conscience, you would have expanded and bent it many times over.
Many times, I would just turn a blind eye, and do my job. After all, trabaho lang, di ba?
But like I said, I felt empty. I felt like a robot. And it disturbed me.
So I said farewell to private corporate practice.
I wanted to serve the people. I wanted to go back working in government. So I transferred to the Office of the Solicitor General, the law firm of the Republic of the Philppines and its people.
Again, my time at the OSG was an educational experience. I honed my skills in litigation. The first time I felt alive again was when I appeared in a Habeas Corpus hearing and I argued in favor of the release of a prisoner. This guy was in jail for committing two crimes, homicide and illegal possession of firearms. He was there for more than 10 years already. The thing is, in the Robin Padilla case, the Supreme Court said that illegal possession of firearms is absorbed in the other crime where the firearm was used. This being case law, this guy should be released already because he finished serving the penalty for homicide. The judge agreed and ordered his release. I shook the man’s hand and he looked to me with such gratitude. He wouldn’t release my hand. Muntik na akong umiyak sa tuwa para sa kanya. (I’m all for imprisonment at punishment for committing a crime, pero pag na-serve na yung sentensya, kelangan na natin palayain)
Those are the good times. There are more lull times.
Most of the time, I appear in Court to ask for a continuance. Or when I attend, the judge is on leave, or the opposing counsel has diarrhea. When I’m not in court, I’m stuck in my cubicle drafting all sorts of pleadings, mostly Appellee’s Briefs and Motions. Minsan nababato ako sa cubicle ko. Minsan naman nakakaloka. Ang feeling ko dito sa OSG, parang di ako mapakali.
And then there was the OSG Bill. Knowing I used to work in Congress, and I had previously lobbied for the passage of a new UP Charter, and, yes, I was related to a Congressman, my boss asked me to help out lobby for this OSG Bill.
Wanting to do something else, I said yes.
So, I helped lobby for the bill. I called up people I knew in Congress and in the Senate. I talked to some Senator Brods and to some Congress Brods. I asked them to support the bill and to act on it. Kinulit ko dad ko na kulitin niya si Speaker De Venecia. I helped prepare arguments and info kits and accompanied my boss sa mga Committee Hearings.
In the end, napapasa naming yung OSG bill sa Senate at Congress on 3rd Reading!
Yahoo! Higher pay for government lawyers! More positions available to help ease the burden of current solicitors!
I felt good and I enjoyed what I did.
It just affirmed what kind of lawyer I am and what I wanted to do.
I am an advocate. I aim for change. I push for progress.
And that's why I decided to run for the Provincial Board.
Well, one of the reasons…